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Kakigori Recommendations in Tokyo?

Food Sake Tokyo has a short recommended list from 2010:

Aug 05, 2015
djonesca in Japan

Requesting a "foodie tour guide"

Voyagin ( lists people who offer foodie services in Tokyo (among many other things). I have no personal experience with any of them, but fwiw, Voyagin quickly refunded their fee when they were unable to secure me a reservation at Saito.

May 20, 2015
djonesca in Japan

tokyo / kyoto report

How is Kotaro for non-Japanese speakers?

Apr 29, 2015
djonesca in Japan

Is 14 old enough for high-end Tokyo restaurants?

Thank you for the reply. I'll be asking our concierge to make reservations for us, so I'll ask them to confirm with Den that my son will be welcome.

Apr 05, 2015
djonesca in Japan

Is 14 old enough for high-end Tokyo restaurants?

My 14 (almost 15) yr old son and I will be visiting Tokyo in June and would like to book a couple nice meals at higher-end restaurants. I know there is a sensitivity to having children in restaurants in Japan and I want to respect that. Is 14 'old enough'?

FWIW, this will be son's second trip to Japan. He is very comfortable with fine dining, sushi and Japanese food in general (I'm half-Japanese, he is a quarter, although neither of us speak the language).

We're thinking of Den one night and possibly Kyubey/Daisan Harumi, Yoshitake/Kanesaka for another.

Any thoughts/recommendations would be appreciated.

Apr 03, 2015
djonesca in Japan

Need help selecting Kyoto ryokan by kaiseki dinner

I will be visiting Kyoto in June with my 14 yr old son. It will be his first visit to Kyoto and his first stay in a traditional ryokan. We have the opportunity to spend one night at either Shiraume or Tamahan. I've read all the online comments I can find on both ryokans and I know that our experience at either will be wonderful.

However, the kaiseki dinner at the ryokan will be our one kaiseki meal in Kyoto (I'm hoping to get into Den in Tokyo), so my ryokan choice will be largely determined by the kaiseki offered.

Can anyone shed any light on what differences, if any, we might expect between the two kaisekis?

Mar 30, 2015
djonesca in Japan

Looking for a particular yudofu restaurant in Kyoto

Thanks for the replies. Turns out it was Choshoin. Unfortunately I understand it no longer serves lunch.

Mar 22, 2015
djonesca in Japan

Looking for a particular yudofu restaurant in Kyoto

On my last visit to Kyoto in 1987, we had fabulous lunch at a yudofu restaurant in Kyoto where we sat outside on a small dock overlooking a small lake or river. I'd like to return to that restaurant when I visit Kyoto again in June but unfortunately I cannot remember the name and have had no luck searching online for a clue. Does anyone have any idea of which restaurant that was?

Mar 19, 2015
djonesca in Japan

Charleston: 3 nights. Have Fig for 1 night. Now of the other 3 we're considering, which to omit?

Spent a night in Charleston last summer. Disappointed with our dinner at Husk, but that might have just been me. Prior to dinner we had oysters and martinis at The Ordinary. Very impressed and would like to try that for dinner next time. Enjoyed a very nice brunch the next morning at Hominy Grill.

Dec 12, 2014
djonesca in Southeast

New to Philly and I need awesome food in my life and belly!!

Had dinner at Serpico on our one night in Philly last summer. It was one of the best meals of our East Coast road trip. I'm also from LA (now in SF) and loved the Asian influences in many of the dishes.

Road trip report, Philly to Orlando (lonnnnng)

Just got back from a road trip from Philly to Orlando with my 13yo son. I found a lot of great dining advice here in preparing for our trip, so in the spirt of paying back, thought I'd list a few of our experiences.

NOTE: not sure of the posting etiquette of a post spanning multiple regions. Should I cross-post in each applicable region, or split up my post by region and post each separately?

Serpico: Fabulous, every dish was wonderful. Was expecting big, bold and flashy, instead got subtle and refined. Enjoyed every dish: Sliced Pig Head, Hamachi Tartare, Oxtail Soup, Deep Fried Duck Leg, Caper Brined Trout, and for dessert, Rocky Road.

Sonny's Famous Cheese Steaks: our first ever cheesesteaks, but these, with wiz and onions, were very good.

Franklin Fountain: the period costumes of the employees should have been a clue. The ice cream was store-bought in quality and the egg creams (both NY and Philly) were so tasteless that we threw them away half-finished. Total waste of time and money.

Hank's Oyster Bar (Capitol Hill): raw oysters, Fried Oyster dinner, fish tacos, soft shell crab with poblano and hush puppies. Enjoyed everything. Best hush puppies of the trip. But LOUD, so loud we didn't stay for dessert (which I don't think has ever happened before)

Shake Shack: burgers were just okay, no comparison with In-and-Out. Shakes were very good (which I guess is why it's not called Burger Shack)

The Partisan: Met my cousin and her family for dinner. The food and service combined for an outstanding dinner. Had: 120 Day Dry Aged Carpaccio, Radishes+Sugar Snaps, Squid Ink Bucatini, Baked Cilantro Paccheri, Rotissi-Fried Chicken, Bone-in Ribeye, and several desserts I can't recall. All the food was great. The ribeye was possibly the best I've ever had. Best fried chicken of the trip. (In case anyone cares, took a 2001 SQN Midnight Oil which was drinking wonderfully)

Beasley's Chicken and Honey: Happening hipster place. Chicken was good, but the breading was a little thick and I thought too much honey made it too sweet (my son loved it though). The chicken potpie (which is a kind of thick chicken soup with a thin cornbread topping) was very good. My side salad had way too much dressing, making it almost inedible. Perhaps due to my bourbon ignorance, the fancy bacon bourbon drink I had tasted to me like just a plain bourbon on the rocks.

Jeni's Original Ice Cream: eager to try this as we don't have Jeni's in the Bay Area. Tried a few recipes from her first book and not impressed, but wanted to try it from the source. Verdict: very good. The coffee is possibly the best coffee ice cream I've had (and that includes Humphrey Slocum, Bi-rite, Three Twins, etc). Need to give her recipes another try.

Husk: biggest disappointment of the trip. Had the lettuce-wrapped pork ears (great flavors, but the texture of the densely fried ears was too great a contrast to the soft lettuce leaves), shishito peppers (good flavors, but thought the limp peppers would have been better crisped), fire-roasted oysters (very good, best dish of the night), slow smoked ribs (the meat was good, but thought the flavor of the sauce clashed with the char), quail (did not like the sauce at all, found it had a bitter, off-flavor that did not work with the quail. Also thought the cauliflower was a poor pairing). The service of the restaurant was good, the setting nice, everything was prepared properly (I think). Perhaps my tastes just don't line up with the chef here.

Hominy Grill: great brunch: She Crab Soup, Biscuit & Gravy, Shrimp & Grits, Charleston Nasty Biscuit. Wished every town had a place like this.

replaced our original rez at a.lure with B. Matthews Eatery, hoping to find another Hominy Grill. It wasn't. The food wasn't bad, but I think they tried to go upscale and their reach exceeded their grasp. Had the charcuterie, Bacon-wrapped Rabbit Roulade, and Bacon-wrapped Quail (had I known beforehand that the truffle in the description was actually truffle oil I would have ordered something else).

Leopold's Ice Cream - good, but not worth the 30m wait. As was aptly put by another on this board, if you've already had great ice cream, it won't rock your world

BBQ (in order of visits, not on same day. Unless otherwise noted, just talking about the bbq sandwich):
Skylight Inn (NC): transcendent, life-changing BBQ. Did not know anything like this existed.

Allen & Sons (NC): not bad, but nothing special. Not sure what happened here, were we still in a post-Skylight Inn daze?

Scott's (SC): very very good. Possibly the best vinegar-pepper sauce we had, but preferred the meat at Skylight Inn. Huge portions, loved the assemble-your-own-sandwich process.

Sweatman's (SC): had the buffet. Not impressed by the ribs or chicken. The light BBQ was good with the mustard sauce. The dark BBQ was very very good.

Fiery Ron's (SC, recommended to us by the bartender at The Original): not bad for a mainstream commercial place. Meat was moist and flavorful, but lacking in smoke. Provided 5 types of sauces (yellow mustard, vinegar-pepper, mild, regular and hot tomato-based).

Once we entered Theme Park Land in Orlando, I gave up any effort at finding good food and surrendered to the reality of expediency over quality. But, for anyone traveling a similar trail, I'll post some observations:

Bubba Gump (City Walk): loud, garish, big portions of fried food. Sad that this is what the many tourists here take home as their impression of American food. My son had the some sort of fried food combo, I had the gumbo which wasn't horrible.

Leaky Cauldron (Diagon Alley): had breakfast and dinner here. The food quality is irrelevant, as the experience of eating in the world of Harry Potter trumps every other consideration. Universal nailed this folks and if you or your kids have any interest in Harry Potter, you are morally obligated to go to Diagon Alley. That said, the food here is not too pricey and better than expected in quality. Most important, it's FUN.

Florean Fortescue's Ice-Cream Parlour (Diagon Alley): Butter Beer Ice Cream. Nuff said.

Boatwright's Dinig Hall (Port Orleans Riverside): huge portions, food decent but overpriced. Cajun-seasoned Crawfish Bites, Chicken and Andouille Gumbo, Andouille-crusted Catfish, Crawfish Ètouffée

Bongos Cuban Cafe Express (Downtown Disney): if you arrive at Downtown Disney at 8p without reservations at the height of the summer crush like we did, you might want to spare yourself the agony of forcing your way through the crowds (remember it's 90 degrees and 90% humidity out) only to be turned away at restaurant after restaurant, and go straight to this take-out window attached to the Bongos Cuban Cafe. We just ordered cubano sandwiches, a smoothie and an iced cubano coffee, and while we are no experts, found the sandwiches to be delicious. Plus it's a great spot. Downtown Disney was jumping the night we were there with street performers and musicians all around us. A nice way to spend a hot summer night.

I'm happy to follow up if anyone has any questions.

Florence in August

Thank you for your suggestion, that look's good too.

Jul 17, 2013
djonesca in Italy

Florence in August

Thank you both very much for your suggestions. I knew that August would not be ideal from an eating standpoint, but unfortunately it was either August or wait for another year.

After looking over the restaurants, I think All'Antico Ristoro dei Cambi is our best bet for bistecca fiorentina. Grazie!

Jul 15, 2013
djonesca in Italy

Florence in August

My 12yo son and I will be in Florence for 3 days August 8-11. I had been looking forward to going to Sostanza for their bistecca fiorentina and petti di pollo en burro, but unfortunately they will be closed during our stay. Can anyone recommend a suitable replacement? Thanks in advance.

Jul 12, 2013
djonesca in Italy